Saturday, 24 December 2016

Scapegoat of the Year

Been a while since we chose a public Beaker Scapegoat. Since 2011, we mostly just blamed Burton Dasset or Drayton Parslow for everything.

But now, in the manner of the BBC's SPOTY, we thought the best bet was to do a grand end of year award and appoint the annual scapegoat, to blame for everything up to New Year's Eve 2017.

First up is part  time beard wearer and full time Nottingham academic, Ian Paul. He has a habit of writing stuff that wrecks our dearest, most cherished illusions. His latest blog post suggests that Angela Tilby might be wrong, and Kate Bottley may be upholding patriarchy - just as an example. Certainly whenever the Little Pebbles ask "Why is Jesus asleep in a manger in the living room, and the Wise Men have turned up in a Ford Cortina?" - we answer, "blame Ian Paul".

The second nomination is Jose Mourinho. His collapse from witty arch-tactician to miserable bus-parker is nearly complete. Everything - from Hurricane Barbara to the continuing employment of Marouane Fellaini - can plausibly be blamed on Jose. And these days he'd probably just shrug.

The next losing nomination is Katie Hopkins. Instead of blaming this self-obsessed hatemonger for everything that goes wrong in 2017, we should see her more as a sidebar ad to the main news, the Greek chorus rather than the drama itself. She doesn't start the fire, she just dances in the embers, ending up with pinhole burns in her self-woven clothing of hate and lies.

The Metropolitan Liberal Elite are going to get a lot of the blame next year. Particularly if the Guardian keeps producing whining, self-justifying articles such as this from Jonathan Freedland. As the old song has it - if nobody likes you and everybody hates you, go and eat some worms. But the Beaker Folk can't hate the MLE. Because that's our core readership.

Which takes us on to the prime losing contenders. What could be more Metropolitan Liberal Elite than a Dulwich schoolboy turned stockbroker? Or a man with 4 foreign grandparents and a foreign wife, who lives in the centre of New York and had his own prime-time TV show? Men of the people?Nigel Farage is generally regarded as a Spode-like character, and probably was only surfing the wave that threw us out of the EU. Whereas, to be fair, Trump probably really will be the cause of everything that goes wrong next year.

But in the end there was only ever one candidate for Scapegoat of the Year. And it's the year itself. The year 2016 which has mown down celebrities in its wake, seen the destruction of Aleppo. Brexit and Trump - just two of its tricks. Terrorism, both polls melting, the rise of the Right across Europe and Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary. When, next year, somebody says "Why isn't Mary Berry on Bakeoff?" The answer will be, "2016 did it." It reaches into the past, telling us the London 2012 Olympics are tainted - and points, like the Ghost of Christmas Terrified, to a ghastly future where we celebrate our sovereignty, while having to eat Nissan cars because we can't afford to import food.

If the chickens get through the wire and are all eaten by the Wodewose, if the ocarinas are out of tune, if there's a snap general election which is won by  the Libdems, if Katie Hopkins wins "Strictly" - 2016 will be to blame.
A wise man once said, don't worry  about tomorrow - today has enough problems of its own." Maybe he'd forgotten that 2016 was coming.


  1. Well, I am disappointed not to have won. But at least I now know whom to blame.

  2. Erm, I wouldn't mind the LibDems winning a snap election. Blame me!


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